Life in the 1500s, Stupid Politician Tricks and Cussing Kids
Plus: Why you should never argue with a woman who reads. (Read on!)
The joke's on us. . .Warning—jokes about nuns may be habit forming. Sorry, we just had to get that out of our system before turning the page over to Ned Ludd:
"A nun, badly needing to use to the restroom, walked into a local Hooters. The place was hopping with music and loud conversation and every once in a while the lights would turn off. Each time the lights would go out, the place would erupt into cheers. However, when the revelers saw the nun, the room went dead silent. She walked up to the bartender, and asked, 'May I please use the restroom?'
"The bartender replied, 'OK, but I should warn you that there is a statue of a naked man in there wearing only a fig leaf.'
"'Well, in that case I'll just look the other way,' said the nun. So the bartender showed the nun to the back, and she proceeded to the restroom.
"After a few minutes, she came back out, and the whole place stopped just long enough to give the nun a loud round of applause. She went to the bartender and said, 'Sir, I don't understand. Why did they applaud for me just because I went to the restroom?'
"'Well, now they know you're one of us,' said the bartender. 'Would you like a drink?'
"'No, I don't drink, but I still don't understand,' said the puzzled nun.
"'You see,' laughed the bartender, 'every time the fig leaf on the statue is lifted up, the lights go out. Now, how about that drink?'"
Go on, make us laugh! Send your favorite funnies to Desert Diary, PO Box 191, Silver City, NM 88062, fax 534-4134 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The not-so-good olde daze. . . Our continuing quest for reminiscences of life "way back when" takes a giant leap with this missive, passed along by Grumps. We can't vouch for the accuracy of the history lesson therein, but it did make us stop complaining about that dang drippy faucet:
"Life in the 1500s
"The next time you are washing your hands and complain because the water temperature isn't just how you like it, think about how things used to be. Here are some facts about the 1500s:
"Most people got married in June because they took their yearly bath in May, and still smelled pretty good by June. However, they were starting to smell, so brides carried a bouquet of flowers to hide the body odor. Hence the custom today of carrying a bouquet when getting married.
"Baths consisted of a big tub filled with hot water. The man of the house had the privilege of the nice clean water, then all the other sons and men, then the women and finally the children. Last of all the babies. By then the water was so dirty you could actually lose someone in it. Hence the saying, 'Don't throw the baby out with the bath water.
"Houses had thatched roofs—thick straw, piled high, with no wood underneath. It was the only place for animals to get warm, so all the cats and other small animals (mice, bugs) lived in the roof. When it rained, it became slippery and sometimes the animals would slip and fall off the roof. Hence the saying, 'It's raining cats and dogs.'
"There was nothing to stop things from falling into the house. This posed a real problem in the bedroom, where bugs and other droppings could mess up your nice clean bed. Hence, a bed with big posts and a sheet hung over the top afforded some protection. That's how canopy beds came into existence. The floor was dirt. Only the wealthy had something other than dirt. Hence the saying, 'Dirt poor.'
"The wealthy had slate floors that would get slippery in the winter when wet, so they spread thresh (straw) on the floor to help keep their footing. As the winter wore on, they added more thresh until, when you opened the door, it would all start slipping outside. A piece of wood was placed in the entranceway. Hence the word 'threshhold.'
"In those old days, they cooked in the kitchen with a big kettle that always hung over the fire. Every day they lit the fire and added things to the pot. They ate mostly vegetables and did not get much meat. They would eat the stew for dinner, leaving leftovers in the pot to get cold overnight, and then start over the next day. Sometimes stew had food in it that had been there for quite awhile. Hence the rhyme, 'Peas porridge hot, peas porridge cold, peas porridge in the pot nine days old.'
"Sometimes they could obtain pork, which made them feel quite special. When visitors came over, they would hang up their bacon to show off. It was a sign of wealth that a man could 'bring home the bacon.' They would cut off a little to share with guests and would all sit around and 'chew the fat.'
"Those with money had plates made of pewter. Food with high acid content caused some of the lead to leach onto the food, causing lead poisoning. This happen ed most often with tomatoes, so for the next 400 years or so, tomatoes were considered poisonous.
"Bread was divided according to status. Workers got the burnt bottom of the loaf, the family got the middle, and guests got the top, or the 'upper crust.'
"Lead cups were used to drink ale or whiskey. The combination would sometimes knock the imbibers out for a couple of days. Someone walking along the road would take them for dead and prepare them for burial. They were laid out on the kitchen table for a couple of days and the family would gather around and eat and drink and wait and see if they would wake up. Hence the custom of holding a wake.
"England is old and small and the local folks started running out of places to bury people. So they would dig up coffins and would take the bones to a bone-house, and reuse the grave. When reopening these coffins, one out of 25 coffins was found to have scratch marks on the inside and they realized they had been burying people alive. So they would tie a string on the wrist of the corpse, lead the string through the coffin and up through the ground and tie it to a bell. Someone would have to sit out in the graveyard all night—'the graveyard shift'—to listen for the bell. Thus, someone could be 'saved by the bell' or was considered a 'dead ringer.'"
It could be verse. . . Loathe though we are to encourage anyone to commit poetry, we couldn't resist this short, humorous verse (emphasis on the short and humorous!) from Stan of Cruces:
"Based on my experience,
Women weather hot weather
Better than men, but men
Fair better with the cold.
Does that mean it's OK
To fry the eggs,
But not freeze them?"
Losing the battle of the sexes. . . While we're on the subject of the difference between men and women, let's allow Doctor Diane to weigh in with this yarn:
"One morning the husband returns after several hours of fishing and decides to take a nap. Although not familiar with the lake, the wife decides to take the boat out. She motors out a short distance, anchors, and reads her book. Along comes a game warden in his boat. He pulls up alongside the woman and says, 'Good morning, ma'am. What are you doing?'
"'Reading a book,' she replies, (thinking, 'Isn't that obvious?')
"'You're in a Restricted Fishing Area,' he informs her.
"'I'm sorry, officer, but I'm not fishing. I'm reading.'
"'Yes, but you have all the equipment. For all I know you could start at any moment. I'll have to take you in and write you up.'
"'If you do that, I'll have to charge you with sexual assault,' says the woman.
"'But I haven't even touched you!' says the game warden.
"'That's true, but you have all the equipment, for all I know you could start at any moment,' she replied.
"'Have a nice day ma'am,' the game warden said, and he left.
"Moral: Never argue with a woman who reads. It's likely she can also think."
Send your tales from the front lines of the gender wars to Desert Diary, PO Box 191, Silver City, NM 88062, fax 534-4134 or email email@example.com.
Kids say the darnedest things. . . Doing double duty this month, the prolific email-forwarder Grumps also passes along this tale of impetuous youth:
"A six-year-old and a four-year-old are upstairs in their bedroom. 'You know what?' says the six-year-old. 'I think it's about time we started cussing.' The four-year-old nods his head in approval. The six-year-old continues, 'When we go downstairs for breakfast, I'm gonna say something with "hell" and you say something with "ass."
"The four-year-old agrees with enthusiasm. When their mother walks into the kitchen and asks the six-year-old what he wants for breakfast, he replies, 'Aw, hell, Mom, I guess I'll have some Cheerios.'
"WHACK! He flies out of his chair, tumbles across the kitchen floor, gets up and runs upstairs, crying his eyes out, with his mother in hot pursuit, slapping his rear with every step. His mom locks him in his room and shouts, 'You can just stay there until I let you out!'
"She then comes back downstairs, looks at the four-year-old and asks with a stern voice, 'And what do YOU want for breakfast, young man?'
'I don't know,' he blubbers, 'but you can bet your fat ass it won't be Cheerios.'"
Dumb and dumber. . . In the spirit of our recent ranting about stupid folks ("and remember, these people vote!"), Rudy—who brought us that original litany of idiocy—returns with this completely nonpartisan explanation of "Why our country is in trouble":
"A Washington, DC, airport ticket agent offers some examples of why our country is in trouble:
"I had a congresswoman ask for an aisle seat so that her hair wouldn't get messed up by being near the window.
"I got a call from a candidate's staffer, who wanted to go to Capetown. I started to explain the length of the flight and the passport information, then she interrupted me with, 'I'm not trying to make you look stupid, but Capetown is in Massachusetts.' Without trying to make her look stupid, I calmly explained, 'Cape Cod is in Massachusetts, Capetown is in Africa.' Her response—click.
"A senior congressman called, furious about a Florida package we did. I asked what was wrong with the vacation in Orlando. He said he was expecting an ocean-view room. I tried to explain that's not possible, since Orlando is in the middle of the state. He replied, 'Don't lie to me, I looked on the map and Florida is a very thin state!'
"I got a call from a lawmaker's wife who asked, 'Is it possible to see England from Canada?' I said, 'No.' She said, 'But they look so close on the map.'
"An aide for a cabinet member once called and asked if he could rent a car in Dallas. When I pulled up the reservation, I noticed he had only a one-hour layover in Dallas. When I asked him why he wanted to rent a car, he said, 'I heard Dallas was a big airport, and we will need a car to drive between gates to save time.'
"An congresswoman called last week. She needed to know how it was possible that her flight from Detroit left at 8:30 a.m. and got to Chicago at 8:33 a.m. I explained that Michigan was an hour ahead of Illinois, but she couldn't understand the concept of time zones. Finally, I told her the plane went fast, and she bought that.
"A female lawmaker called and asked, 'Do airlines put your physical description on your bag so they know whose luggage belongs to whom?' I said, 'No, why do you ask?' She replied, 'Well, when I checked in with the airline, they put a tag on my luggage that said "FAT," and I'm overweight. I think that's very rude!' After putting her on hold for a minute while I looked into it (I was laughing), I came back and explained the city code for Fresno, Calif., is "FAT," and the airline was just putting a destination tag on her luggage.
"A senator's aide called to inquire about a trip package to Hawaii. After going over all the cost info, she asked, 'Would it be cheaper to fly to California, and then take the train to Hawaii?'
"I just got off the phone with a freshman congressman who asked, 'How do I know which plane to get on?' I asked him what exactly he meant, to which he replied, 'I was told my flight number is 823, but none of these planes have numbers on them.'
"A lady senator called and said, 'I need to fly to Pepsi-Cola, Florida. Do I have to get on one of those little computer planes?' I asked if she meant fly to Pensacola, Fla., on a commuter plane. She said, 'Yeah, whatever, smarty!'
"A senior senator called and had a question about the documents he needed in order to fly to China. After a lengthy discussion about passports, I reminded him that he needed a visa. 'Oh, no, I don't. I've been to China many times and never had to have one of those.' I double-checked and sure enough, his stay required a visa. When I told him this, he said, 'Look, I've been to China four times and every time they have accepted my American Express!'
"A congresswoman called to make reservations, 'I want to go from Chicago to Rhino, New York.' I was at a loss for words. Finally, I said, 'Are you sure that's the name of the town?' 'Yes, what flights do you have?' she replied. After some searching, I came back with, 'I'm sorry, ma'am, I've looked up every airport code in the country and can't find a Rhino anywhere.' She retorted, 'Oh, don't be silly! Everyone knows where it is. Check your map!' So I scoured a map of the state of New York and finally offered, 'You don't mean Buffalo, do you?' The reply? 'Whatever! I knew it was a big animal.'
"Now you know why government is in the shape that it's in!"
Teen beat. . . Our search for funny stories about kids grows up a bit with this submission about the teenage years, courtesy ofCrown West:
"A father, passing by his son's bedroom, was astonished to see the bed was nicely made, and everything was picked up. Then he saw an envelope, propped up prominently on the pillow. It was addressed, 'Dad.' With the worst premonition, he opened the envelope and read the letter, with trembling hands:
"'Dear Dad, It is with great regret and sorrow that I'm writing you. I had to elope with my new girlfriend, because I wanted to avoid a scene with Mom and you. I've been finding real passion with Stacy, and she is so nice, but I knew you would not approve of her, because of all her piercings, tattoos, her tight motorcycle clothes, and because she is so much older than I am. But it's not only the passion—Dad, she's pregnant. Stacy said that we will be very happy. She owns a trailer in the woods, and has a stack of firewood for the whole winter. We share a dream of having many more children. Stacy has opened my eyes to the fact that marijuana doesn't really hurt anyone. We'll be growing it for ourselves, and trading it with the other people in the commune, for all the cocaine and ecstasy we want. In the meantime, we'll pray that science will find a cure for AIDS, so Stacy can get better. She sure deserves it! Don't worry, Dad, I'm 15, and I know how to take care of myself. Someday, I'm sure we'll be back to
visit, so you can get to know your grandchildren. Love, your son, John
"P.S. Dad, None of the above is true. I'm over at Tommy's house. I just wanted to remind you that there are worse things in life than the report card that's in my center desk drawer. I love you! Call when it is safe for me to come home.'"
Send us your tales of all ages, genders and IQs, your curmudgeonly lectures, favorite jokes, awful puns and anecdotes, heartwarming or otherwise, to Desert Diary, PO Box 191, Silver City, NM 88062, fax 534-4134, email firstname.lastname@example.org. Remember, the best submissions get one of our new 10th anniversary mugs—an exclusive collector's item we expect to see on eBay any day now.